Climbing high for London charity XLP

Last month, an intrepid team of explorers from Workspace climbed the Atlas mountains in Morocco. They embarked on this adventurous endeavour in support of XLP, a charity supported by Workspace. 

The fearless team consisted of Raissa, a host at Club Workspace, Bryony, a Development Executive, Charlotte, from the Customer Service team, John, an Energy Manager, Richard, an Investment Manager and Tomjedur, who's in the IT department. 

Initially, the trek seemed like the least of their worries. The team had to work hard to raise the funds for XLP and reach the threshold which would allow them to go on the trek. Queue a sweet shop and a quiz night. Richard explains that there were some bizarre moments at Workspace HQ including "Having your colleagues take part in a karaoke event but in an office meeting room whilst it’s still light outside…VERY surreal but entertaining!!"

Charlotte's fundraising proposition was also a little particular; she explains she raised money by: "Cutting hair in an empty unit upstairs: £20 a lady, £15 a guy. It was especially popular with the guys and it was funny looking around the office and noticing that everyone had the same haircut (I only do one style…)" Workspace paid for the entry registration fee for each team member and then match funded them all to reach the total of £17,000 including a personal donation from Jamie the CEO.

This frenetic fundraising was accompanied by diligent training regimes... on the part of some, at least. Raissa explains that her lengthy walks around London were motivated by sheer terror: "Excited and petrified. I had a fear of the unknown as I have never done anything like this." John echoed the sentiment: "Apprehensive, certainly, regarding my fitness, but excited."

And they were right to be nervous as the trek was no mean feat. They had to walk at least eight hours a day for four days, battling difficult conditions including blinding sun, heavy snow and gasp-inducing altitude. Charlotte said it was tough: "Scaling snow covered cliff faces at 3800m with nothing but a pair of crampons on the bottom of our shoes and a Moroccan guide’s hand to hold." It certainly couldn't help that she admits "I am scared of heights."

And reaching the summit didn't mean they could relax. The descent was likely to prove just as strenuous as Raissa says: "After exhausting any - and all - the determination I had in me to reach the summit, it occurred to me that I must come down. That was the hardest part." But luckily, the gods were on the Workspace team's side as Charlotte explains: "After a very steep five hour climb, starting at 4am in the dark to the summit, the best part was realising we didn’t have to face the climb back down as someone had carved grooves in the snow which acted as the perfect slide – five hours up, one hour down on our bums." 

XLP is the charity supported by Workspace. It works to create positive futures for young people in London. Through mentoring, community work, advocacy, education and the arts, XLP helps transform the lives of thousands of deprived urban children. The team were all very excited to be raising money for this charity - Raissa said: "XLP does a tremendous job giving hope to young people who may otherwise be left facing a future without it."

Find out more about this remarkable charity here.


The team before they had any ideas what they were getting in to (daylight karaoke)


Start of the trek in Marrakech – little do we know what we’re in for!!


First day of the trek – enjoying the views. A “gentle” introduction to the trek.


Heading up into the mountains. Our guide points to the snow-capped mountains. That’s where we’re going?!


The most important person on the trek 



Steep climb on day two through snow and ice!


Break for lunch at 3250 metre above sea level.  Beautiful views while we made some sandwiches with tinned fish and had a rest!  The calm before the…  


… scariest part of the trek!  Cutting through the snow where there didn’t appear to be a path!  One member of the trek slipped and went sliding down about 30fee! Our guide, Hamid, went jumping down after him! 


A night’s rest and breakfast before we set off for the summit of Mount Toubkal in the dark at 4am.


After a long, exhausting and gruelling 4 hour trek – we made it to the top! 4167m above sea level!  Amazing view and pretty cold too!!!


Triumph and a marvellous steed


Lunch on the last day before we head back to Marrakech.  The food prepared by our Bedouin crew, once again, was amazing.